In response to COVID-19, FRCOG offices are closed. Staff are working remotely. Email is likely the most efficient way to reach us. You can find our contact information on the Staff page under the About link below.

Building, plumbing and wiring inspectors are responding to emergencies only.

All meetings, workshops and forums are cancelled or have been changed to a call-in or video format.  Please look for emails from FRCOG staff about specific meetings or on our calendar at the Meetings and Events link below.

Business Development Resource Guide

Click to download:

Resources and Guidance for Businesses in response to COVID-19 as of August 3, 2020

Round 2 of Town of Orange’s AGO Small Business Relief Partnership Grant program for small businesses based in Orange has applications due on 08/09/20. Eligible, Orange-based businesses can be awarded a grant up to $2,500. For more information, go to: https://www.townoforange.org/community-development/news/small-business-retention-program-round-2

Regional Micro-enterprise Assistance Program for businesses based in 24 Franklin County communities (not Monroe and Rowe).  The City of Greenfield received a CDBG award that will allow for eligible businesses with 5 or fewer employees to apply for a grant of up to $10,000. For information about Greenfield’s award, go to, https://greenfield-ma.gov/n/456/Greenfield-Awarded-Grant-to-Support-Franklin-Countys-Small-Businesses (Note: This post will be updated when this program’s application round opens.]

COVID Recovery Micro-enterprise Assistance Program is a forgivable loan program for businesses with less than 5 employees located in Buckland, Greenfield, Montague, or Shelburne. The program is administered by the Franklin County Community Development Corporation.  For more information, go to https://www.fccdc.org/covid-recovery-micro-enterprise-assistance-program/

The latest round of CISA’s Emergency Farm Fund had an application deadline of 6/22/2020. However, they continue to have a robust list of COVD-19 resources and information for farmers at https://www.buylocalfood.org/resources-for-farmers/tipsheets/covid-19-resources/.

The Community Foundation of Western Mass has a grant program open to eligible non-profit organizations impacted by COVID-19. For more information, http://communityfoundation.org/about-the-covid-19-response-fund-for-the-pioneer-valley/

Guidance from the Boston Federal Reserve Bank about how small businesses can use the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Small Business Webinars scheduled and recorded past webinars: https://bit.ly/WebinarsList2020

Western Mass List of Business Resources for Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire Counties. For more information, https://bit.ly/WMassBusinessResources.

Looking for community design inspiration? Check out the Design for Distancing guide created by the City of Baltimore at https://www.designfordistancing.org/.

Small Business Strong is a partnership of banks, foundations and others set up to help women and minority-owned businesses in Massachusetts.  The website includes a list of resources, ranging from guidance on a variety of business issues to loans and grants available to businesses.

The MassHire Franklin-Hampshire Workforce Board is administering the FH Humanitarian Food Relief Employment Program which is offering job seekers temporary employment to work at local food relief programs.

Local municipal governments can apply to MassDOT’s Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program to access funds (from $5,000 to $300,000) to “quickly implement or expand improvements to sidewalks, curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce in their communities”. These types of improvements can create spaces or improve the experience for outdoor dining or outdoor markets, and/or can support better bicycle and pedestrian accommodations. Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis from today through September 27, 2020. Projects are expected to be quickly, preferably within 15-30 days of award. For more details, go to https://www.mass.gov/shared-streets-and-spaces-grant-program.

MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places program has launched a special grant program for non-profit organizations called Commonwealth Places COVID-19 Response Round: Resurgent Places.  This new program is designed to “help community partners prepare public space and commercial districts to best serve their population during communities’ economic recovery efforts.” Eligible entities can apply up to $10,000 without a required match, or can apply for greater amounts up to $25,000 with a match from crowdfunding donations. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis from today through July 31, 2020. For more information, go to: https://www.massdevelopment.com/what-we-offer/real-estate-services/commonwealth-places.

Guidance and resources from the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. Interested in having outdooring dining?  MA Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission’s recent advisories on local approval of outdoor seating, guidelines for patio and outdoor areas, and more.

Small businesses can access free online classes in Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Quickbooks and WordPress for their employees through a program of Greenfield Community Colleges. Go to WorkforceTrainingFund.org to see if your business is eligible and then email non-credit@gcc.mass.edu for more information.

MassHire Franklin-Hampshire Career Center information for both job seekers/employees and for businesses/employershttps://www.masshirefhcareers.org/

Franklin County Community Development Corporation – https://www.fccdc.org/covid-19-resources/

Franklin County Chamber of Commerce – https://franklincc.org/whats-new-at-the-chamber/273-covid-19-message and their Facebook interview series at https://www.facebook.com/FranklinCountyChamberofCommerce/

Community Action Pioneer Valley’s Look 4 Help page a wide variety information and resources for individuals and families – https://www.look4help.org/

U.S. Small Business Administration’s guidance and loan resources – https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources

MA Governor Baker Administration’s resources and guidance for small businesses – https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-resources-and-guidance-for-businesses

Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation’s information about the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Technical Assistance program translated into 20 languages – https://www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org/resources/covid-19-small-business-resources

For municipalities, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council wrote a white paper with ideas on how local governments could help small businesses.

MassEcon’s COVID-19 Business Resources – https://massecon.com/massecon-covid-19-resource-center/

OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 – https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/

BOMA International’s Guide to Building Re-Entry – https://www.boma.org/coronavirus

LISC and Verizon are providing grants of up to $10,000 to businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of COVID-19. Businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically underserved communities who don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital. Click here for more information.

Verizon is waiving late fees for small businesses. For more information, click here.

Both Eversource and National Grid utility companies are posting updates on their policies related to the COVID-19 crisis.

U.S. Treasury and IRS guidance on deferring tax payments due to COVID-19. For more information, click here.

1Berkshire has assembled a comprehensive list of resources, including Facebook Small Business Grants, Resources for Freelance Artists, and Tipped & Service Workers Fund.  For more information, click here.

Resources for Agricultural businesses from MDAR. For more information, click here.

ICIC Small Business Resource Center for national and regional resources as well as business technical assistance. For more information, click here.

 

Pioneer Valley Businesses and Organization Survey as of April 3, 2020

Click here for the Findings Report on the Impact of COVID-19: Pioneer Valley Business and Organization Survey

 

Emergency Preparedness Resources for Businesses:

Whether it is a blizzard, flood, or a hazardous spill, business can’t always control what happens in the future. However, there are steps to be better prepared. And when you can respond and recover quickly, you can get back to business! Information on how businesses can be prepared for emergencies is available at  WesternMassReady.org and Ready.gov/Business, or download the Getting Back To Business brochure (PDF, 875KB).

 

Business Development Resources:

Looking to start a new business venture?  Or expand an existing business venture? Check out the 2018 Franklin County Business Development Resources Guide  (PDF 2.2mb) to find helpful information and links to organizations that provide technical assistance, training, financing and more!

The Commonwealth’s workforce development agency has published a comprehensive guide to the state’s business resources called MassHire BizWorks (PDF, 2.01 mb).